How to Make Community Projects Work for the Future

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How to Make Community Projects Work for the Future

We all know that progress is unstoppable but it’s not all bad. Huge architectural projects designed by global architects often secure the headlines, but architects across the UK are working on community projects that respect the ‘built historical environment’ epitomise the culture, traditions and values that hold and make a real difference to communities. 

The local community & social cohesion

Community projects that go forward without erasing the past are managing to preserve our heritage and culture in the face of advancement.

Community projects, mindful that landmark buildings restored to their former glory open a window to the past, are serving to uplift whole communities. Connecting to our forefathers via the historic structures in our villages, towns and cities are both a nurturing and bonding experience.

In order to revitalise the architecture of a historic church there is a need to find the right architect who will approach a project with complete sensitivity.  An expert architect will need to develop a design that touches nearly every inch of a Church while honouring the character and eminence of the historic building. 

Our Special Community Projects

At MarbleAir we always design with sustainability as a fundamental and guiding principle and our work in communities expresses best how this can work – for everyone. 

We have worked on a range of exciting special projects, engaging in creative ways ways to preserve churches to ensure they are open and used.

St John’s the Baptist, Stadhampton

Architects listed buildings

We delivered this extraordinary community building project converting a charming but rarely used village church into a modern, inclusive place for worship and community activities that would place the church once more at the heart of village life.

We wanted to design for the generation while being true to the original mission and intent of the Church. We’ve done it with great care—it’s a very special place “ said Anna, director of MarbleAir.

How will the community benefit?

We installed new architectural lights and an audio visual system will to enable the church and local community villagers and guests to use the church for many different activities and events.   

In 2016 we were absolutely delighted to have been awarded a plaque by the Oxford Preservation Trust Awards in the category of Small Projects.
The project was featured in ‘Churches for Communities: Adapting Oxfordshire’s Churches for Wider Use’ 01/02/2014 by Becky Payne & ’Church building & heritage review’ magazine 09/10 201311/12 2013 issues.

St Agatha’s Parish Church, Brightwell-cum-Sotwell

St Agatha’s has been at the centre of Brightwell’s Christianity for almost 900 years around which the local community sets out its active and vibrant social life.

There was insufficient space in the church to accommodate all of the events planned by the community as well as the growing need to make it both accessible for disabled parishioners and attractive to a younger generation.  

For that reason the villagers sought an architectural solution. Through working with the church leadership, we developed a brief to overcome these issues.

Sensitivity through design

Like all historic grade II buildings, the work we carried out demonstrated a great deal of sensitivity to ensure the original architectural heritage was enhanced. Plus that any interventions complied with the strictest code of conservation techniques and materials to ensure enrichment of the original intentions of a Grade II listed building. 

The proposed architectural solution was an extension that measures only 45 sq.m. and was composed around 12th Century doorway; a tribute to the evidence of the church’s past developments. 

The doorway connected the main body of the church with the extension. We created a single-storey space build in the south section of the churchyard.  The new extension included a welcoming reception area, good side meeting room, access toilet,  baby changing facilities and storage.  

A beacon to the community

“The new extension integrates characteristics of the building to transform and extend the community space and create a warm, welcoming and inclusive centre, that aims to evoke a sense of belonging and as a beacon to the community” says MarbleAir. 

Read more about the extension to St. Agatha’s Church in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell (Oxfordshire) in ‘Churches for Communities: Adapting Oxfordshire’s Churches for Wider Use’ 01/02/2014 by Becky Payne & ’Church building & heritage review’ magazine 09/10 201311/12 2013 issues.

Conclusion

We love helping to save our precious heritage and keeping churches at the beating heart of local communities. 

Breaking down of the barriers between church and community is increasingly vital to ensure both the survival of church buildings and the sustainability of healthy congregations.

If you need advice about funding, contact The National Churches Trust who support churches, chapels and meeting houses across the United Kingdom with their grants programmes.

Explore our old and new community projects now.





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